Mahatma Gandhi's birthday today
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one's thoughts and actions towards solutions.
He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Every one always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence?
The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he did, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength. Nothing frightens them or cows them down. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha'u'llah, Mother Teresa and so many other great souls.
Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his life time but lived a simple life, and told his own daughter that she ain't going to get a free pass to God, she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other's good. Every one of the above teacher's strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.
Mahatma Gandhi's non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human, doing bad things deflates that energy and doing good things recoups it. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need. Non-Violence is a belief that the tyrant is blessed with the same energy, but is not aware of it and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result for short run, but in the long run, the fighting and the avenging continues. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it, violence disturbs the balance.
I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and I were talking over a meal and he gave a pat on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again in 2005, I saw him smiling at me encouraging me to continue with the work of Pluralism.
My message on this day is watching what you say; does it conflagrate the dialogue, does it make the opposing parties dig in? or does it propel people to work towards solutions. You can apply this formula at your work, home or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner, by making the others a winner too.
Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation for pluralism.
Today, October 2nd is Mahatma's birthday, may this day make our leaders think, and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Today, also happens to be my late wife Najma's birthday. May she rest in peace.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net
Pictures from Gandhi Walk 2009 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157625074293900/
From Last year’s Gandhi Walk in Dallas
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Gandhi Peace Walk-2009 in Dallas. Mahatma Gandhi is one of my mentors; I look up to him for guidance when a conflict surfaces, I ponder over his solutions. He was a Pluralist, a man who believed every human has the same rights as the other; he respected the otherness of other and accepted different manifestations of religion. Not that it matters to any, but he has been in dream twice, way back in early 70’s and in about 2003. He just pats on my shoulder and says, son you have work to do. I am blessed to receive his blessings. (Next Para)
THIS PHOTO: Suri (Secretary, Niranjan (President elect), Dr. Sharma (India consulate General), Akram (President), Mike, Taiyab (former President) India Association of North Texas
The India Association of North Texas (Dallas) took the initiative and has begun the first of the peace walks and will continue for generations to come. (Next Para)
Here is a press release prior to the event. (Next Para)
For Immediate Release
Contact: Akram Syed, 214-395-3707 email@example.com
Peace Walk to Mark Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday
In commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary week, the India Association of North Texas will hold a Gandhi Peace Walk on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at Spring Trail Park 5964 Riverside Dr Irving, 75039.
The walk starts at 10:00 AM, the event is free and you are invited to participate and encouraged to bring canned food to donate to local food banks.
Mahatma Gandhi is a global non-violence hero and a peace advocate. He witnessed injustices in the pre-independent British-ruled India and decided to liberate and free the people of the subcontinent from the clutches of the imperial rule. He launched the famous non-cooperation movement along with several marches inspiring millions of people which led the British to declare India’s independence and the creation of new states that form the present day South Asia. All this was carried out in a non-violent and peaceful manner. We are proud to remember and salute this legendary messiah of Peace and Non-violence.